Wednesday, August 11, 2004

prophetically preaching priest

What is it to preach? Is it just to share a word from scripture? Is it just to explain or teach some aspect of the Christian life? There seems to be something unique that happens when one preaches. There seems to be a dynamic interaction of the Spirit when one stands before a large group of people and proclaims truth about God.

In Acts we see Peter proclaim the gospel to a large group of Jews from all over the place. And 3000 were added to their number that day. That is one heck of a sermon. It seems to be an extension of the prophetic office and yet holds aspects of the priestly role as well.

A prophet was charged with proclaiming the word of God to the people. A priest was to be responsible for the people before God. In the former role, one stands before the people as a representative of God. In the latter, one stands before God as a representative of the people.

In the Old Testament we see these roles performed by two distinct offices. But with the Spirit's outpouring at Pentecost, a new event occurs. Peter becomes both prophet and priest. He is a conduit of the Spirit of God moving in both directions.

And so we preachers today take the same form. We stand before a group of people attempting to articulate the Word of God in a way that makes sense to the present culture. We also stand up there before God representing our body of believers before the Father. In order to communicate well, we must take the scriptures and somehow craft a message that will be relevant to the group as a whole. In this we are prophets. We must also allow the Word to craft us. We must let it speak to us first before we can speak to others about it. In this we are priests.

Prophets need boldness, clarity of thought, and empowerment of speech. Priests need humility, meekness of heart, and holiness of life. I confess that I am more prophetic than priestly. But to be a great "preacher" one must somehow find a way to embody both. And we do so in pursuit of the One who is Prophet, Priest and King.


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